Career development resources are vital for long-term success. Whether employees or entrepreneurs learn from real-world experiences, academic exercises or both, their upwards mobility depends on their access to education. Sadly, not everyone can go to college, find a mentor or refine their skillsets in a real-world setting. This is why it is important to recognize those who give others opportunities to learn and grow in their jobs. Recently, the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce nominated Simone Byron for the Launch Award, given to business owners whose companies prove their excellence within two years of founding. She is the owner of Byron Hospitality, which provides culinary and hospitality education to communities across Georgia. Today she joins host Jim Fitzpatrick on The Small Business Show to discuss the hospitality industry and why she chose to become an educator.
Hospitality is a challenging business, as any chef, waiter or dishwasher will attest. Whether front or back of house, the coordination, teamwork and food knowledge required of employees are immense. However, many workers lack access to formal business education, meaning career development opportunities are difficult to find. Byron’s business helps to solve this issue by improving the accessibility of culinary education, helping passionate students achieve heights not normally possible.
Byron’s career path originally took her to corporate food service, but after seeing the need for accessible culinary business education, she decided to become a full-time teacher. Supported by her colleagues in the industry, she started Byron Hospitality, which establishes private-public partnerships to give students the skills they need to have successful careers in hospitality. Her classes aren’t just for cooking, however. Byron’s students learn financial skills, business management and more; critical career development assets that can quickly unlock leadership positions in management and even ownership. The company pays special attention to communities that lack access to business education.
Byron notes that business education is not just for career development: it is the bridge between entry-level employees and industry leadership. Upwards mobility is too often locked behind education requirements, which, while necessary for many careers, serves to block access for many workers. This means that executives and managers are often disconnected from their teams, and are unable to relate to their struggles. Education access also challenges the stigma, surrounding many “service” jobs, that those who fail to move up the ranks are less motivated or talented than others.
Byron Hospitality is an excellent example of how entrepreneurs can help others in their communities find success in their industry. But while praise is certainly due, for educators like Byron, it’s about more than just doing good, it’s also about fulfillment. As she explains, “It isn’t just a passion, it’s a lifestyle.”
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